Sunday, 5 January 2014

#493 In the field: Africa . . . Elephant, con't . . .

Please start this series of posts with #477

The African elephant is the largest living land mammal in existence and is endangered due to ivory poaching.
While in Africa recently, I experienced herds of the giants, roaming the savannah and scrub
wooded habitat in the Serengeti and Tarangire.  Significant  elephant populations
are confined to protected areas such as these parks and preserves.

Below, is an image of the first elephant - a giant bull - I ever saw in the wild.
This picture was taken the day after our arrival in Tanzania in the Ngorongoro Crater.
It was a life-changing event and has set the course for the rest of my life.

Below,  is a photo of a herd of African elephants in the Serengeti:
This was the first herd of the magnificent creatures I experienced  in their natural habitat . . .
I was thrilled at being able to safely get so close to the animals in the Land Rover.
Our guide explained that they, like most of the animals, had grown to understand the
vehicles in the parks and preserves were safe and were not threatened by our presence.
We relied on our knowledgable guide, however, to keep us informed by interpreting their body language.

Below, are recent photos taken at Tarangire in Tanzania.

Below, is a drawing from my Tanzania sketchbook.

Elephants are intelligent and socially complex.  The females live within a structured
group and work together to protect and raise each others' young.

The family unit is made up of several related females - sisters or daughters - and their offspring.
The oldest grandmother typically heads the group and is the matriarch . . .  
the herd relies on her experience as they move about together.  
If there is danger, the matriarch usually faces it while the 
others cluster around the young and shield them from harm.

The mature bulls live alone and wander between temporary bachelor herds . . .
they are only allowed into the female herd when it's time to breed.

Below, is an image of a big tusker in Tarangire.

For anatomy reference, go to posts #563, #616, and #655,     Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish Smith

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